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Pick of the Pyrenees

I received a few samples from Mount Avoca winery in the Pyrenees which, I might say, is a winery I have a lot of time for. Here I've cherry-picked a few that stood out.

Mount Avoca Viognier 2015 $34

Well this is a surprise, but I find myself writing about viognier. For me, viognier has never been a favourite. You know, a bit like pinot gris... nothing wrong with them as such, but not in the same class as riesling, chardonnay and semillon. But I accept that's a personal thing. Broadly speaking I found viognier big and a tad oily. Well this fellow is certainly no shrinking violet, but it's as clean as a whistle and downright enjoyable. Apparently they've given this some bells and whistles in the winery - barrel ferment and extended time on lees. Pears, spicy apricot, a natural fruit sweetness yet fresh and lively in the mouth. Bloody nice, in fact.

Mount Avoca Malakoff Shiraz 2013 $46

This is one of the gutsiest of the Mount Avoca reds, but we finished it in one sitting and, to be honest, could have kept going. Alas, the bottle was empty. Oomph aplenty, but deftness too. Think black fruits - blackberry, dark cherry and rose/violets which brought an aromatic lift and gave it another dimension on the tongue too. Nice wine.

Mount Avoca Limited Release Sangiovese 2015 $46

I have a bit of an attachment to Sangiovese after the bride and I had a great holiday in Tuscany a few years back. We tried some cracking sangiovese over there - the nearest I have come to it back here is the Pizzini Rubacuori which I lurvve it, but at more than $100 a bottle... well, see my problem? But back to this wine. It's good drinking too. It doesn't have the heady depth (does that make sense?) of the Rubacuori, but at less than half the price it packs a bang. Lighter bodied, almost 'nervy', but nice bright cherry fruit, a touch of that sourness you associate with sangiovese, dry but not grippy, and a squeeze on mint. If you're heading out for an Italian feed, this boy will shine.

Mount Avoca Lagrein 2015 $46

Hands up, I know nothing about Lagrein, so wasn't sure what to expect here. So, first things first, it's a powerful wine, but with a line of acid and tannin that was instantly noticeable. It suggest to me that this is built to last so I would think if you let it sleep for six or seven years you could rest easily. In fact it would be better off for it. Having said that there's some plummy fruit in there, dark cherry and black olive too. Meaty, bold and certainly worth a crack.